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Amazon Enters Animal Healthcare Space With VCA Partnership

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Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) is leaving no stone unturned to strengthen its presence further in the virtual assistant market on the back of its innovative Alexa skills and strategic partnerships.

Notably, the e-commerce giant has partnered with VCA Animal Hospitals. Per the deal, the latter will now integrate Alexa skills in its pet care management.

The Alexa users as well as the VCA account holders will now be able to sync VCA Animal Hospitals skill with their respective accounts via a simple voice command to Alexa.

Moreover, this partnership will enable the pet owners to book doctor appointments and receive reminders regarding their pet’s health, consequently simplifying the healthcare management for pets.

Benefits From the Initiative

The deal seems to be a win-win situation for both the companies. By incorporating Alexa voice command system into pet care management, VCA brings digital transformation in the process which will enhance customer experience.

Further, the deal will aid Amazon to penetrate the growing animal healthcare market which as per a report from Grand View Research, is expected to hit $64.6 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 5.5% between 2018 and 2025.

Moreover, this bodes well for the company’s strategy to capitalize on the heavy dependence of healthcare sector on emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Machine Learning (ML) and data analytics.

Amazon already has a health & wellness team within its existing Alexa team in a bid to focus more on developing voice assisted health care applications. In fact, the latest move is in sync with this strategy.

Coming to the price performance, shares of Amazon have returned 42.7% on a year-to-date basis, outperforming the industry’s rally of 4.3%.



Intensifying Battle

The fast-paced world that we inhabit has created a unique space for virtual assistants in our lives, as syncing of these assistants with smart home products makes daily tasks easier and faster. By leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), virtual assistants are proliferating into every aspect of our lives.

Per the data from Research and Markets, the global market for intelligent virtual assistant is expected to witness a CAGR of 32% between 2018 and 2023 and to go beyond $9 billion by 2023.

Apart from Amazon, tech giants like Apple (AAPL - Free Report) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google are also trying to take advantage of the above mentioned fact.

Apple with its voice assistant Siri has bolstered healthcare initiatives via Apple Watch which helps in monitoring health. However, the company has not yet forayed into pet care management.

Meanwhile, Google has recently brought MyPetDoc, a voice AI on its Assistant, to enable conversations between pet owners and veterinarians regarding the pets’ health, behavior and wellness.

Nevertheless, Amazon with its latest move is anticipated to gain competitive edge against these two companies. Moreover, the new partnership of Amazon will enhance the Alexa skills in this field which is likely to aid the adoption rate of Alexa.

Further, MyPetDoc is also available on Alexa enabled devices similar to Google Assistant.

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

Currently, Amazon.com carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Investors interested in the retail-wholesale can consider TripAdvisor (TRIP - Free Report) which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for TripAdvisor is currently pegged at 14.05%.

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